Story by Tu-Uyen Tran
Grand Forks Public Health has found a second bird dead of West Nile virus and several groups of mosquitoes have also tested positive, according to mosquito control supervisor Todd Hanson Thursday.He said he expects to find more in the days ahead.
Culex tarsalis, the most common kind of mosquito that harbors the disease and passes it on to humans, birds and other animals, usually stick to the same area where they hatch, he said, and birds often carry the disease to other culex populations.
The first dead bird to test positive was found Monday. The second bird was found Wednesday.
The Public Health Department also tests culex mosquitoes captured in traps throughout the city. Several groups throughout the city have tested positive, with two that tested positive Thursday, according to Hanson.
Though his crew has been spraying pesticide as if West Nile virus were already present before the first bird was found, he said it was possible they had missed some areas on private land. On Thursday, he urged landowners to get rid of standing water on their property where possible, including from buckets, rain barrels and old tires. “We’ll even pick them up.”
West Nile virus is generally harmless to most and only 1 to 5 percent of those infected even show symptoms, such as fevers, headaches, joint pain and diarrhea. It can be deadly for less than 1 percent, leading to symptoms such as inflammation of the brain.
Hanson advised residents to make sure they use mosquito spray with DEET when outdoors.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Minnesota has also reported a case of West Nile virus infection in non-humans, and South Dakota has reported a human infection as of Tuesday, the latest data available.